June 25, 2017

Are you comparing your 3D self to a cardboard cutout?



Presentation Guru has published one of my articles this week on why it's harmful to compare ourselves to others, and how to stop.

"Will you ever be a great presenter if you don’t believe in your own ability and worth? A great deal of the advice around presentation skills is focused on actual presentation techniques. Crucial – without a doubt – but just how effective if the would-be presenter isn’t in the appropriate state of mind and is constantly comparing themselves – usually unfavourably – to others? In this article, speaking coach Lisa Braithwaite explains how important it is to adopt the right mindset in order to overcome fears of our own failings and make a positive impact."

Click on over to read the whole piece!

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

April 16, 2017

It's hard to be human



Pretending to be a giant at the Christmas tree lot
Most of my clients aren't afraid of speaking. They're well past the point where they avoid speaking engagements or rush to get them over with. My clients are typically at a point in their level of experience where they want to better engage with their audiences, create more of an impact and leave their audiences with a greater transformation.

However, there's still this bothersome issue of "being human."

As comfortable as many of us are on stage, it's still hard to overcome this angst around appearing human, flawed, inadequate, deficient, or just plain foolish. We want to be liked, respected, admired, appreciated and valued. But if the audience finds out that we're "human..." uh oh.

This week, I was excited to meet one of my clients in person for the first time. I had enjoyed working with her over the phone and am lucky that she lives close enough that we could meet for lunch.

However, I had misgivings. She had told me how much personal development she experienced from coaching with me, and that she considered me a mentor. I was honored to have played such an important role in her growth. Now what if, when she met me in person, she discovered that the "real" me was totally different than that person who had coached her?

What if I acted like a goofball at lunch? What if she noticed that I bite my nails? What if she thought my outfit was weird? What if I dribbled food on my chin? What then?

So even though some of my core coaching is around being real, around not worrying what people think of us, and around ditching perfection in order to create connection, I still fall into this trap, too. I still face the impostor syndrome on a regular basis, and I still worry that people will discover that I'm human, flawed, inadequate, deficient, or just plain foolish.

And yes, I'm all of those things. So are you (from time to time). But you're also unique, one-of-a-kind, and completely different from every other human being in the world. And this is what makes your words, your stories and your message incredibly valuable as a speaker. This is what makes it imperative that you stop dwelling on being perfect, and just get up on stage and share your ideas with those who need to hear them.

I still worry sometimes that I won't be liked, respected, admired, appreciated and valued. It's a process.

However, many many years ago, I stopped changing myself to fit in and to be accepted based on others' opinions of what was "normal." I stopped adjusting my behaviors, my voice, my practices, my clothing, my silly faces, my hair, and my way of showing up in the world to make other people happy.

I'd rather be 100% who I am and maybe sometimes not fit in than always fit in and not be myself. How about you?

Are you afraid you might slip during a presentation and the audience will see the real you? Are you afraid of them discovering that you're human?

Check out my book, Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection, which is currently available for pre-order. Order your signed copy now and also get free tax and shipping, a downloadable workbook, and a dozen bonuses from my coaching, speaking and consulting colleagues!

Be real. Be you. Be human. 

It can be a legitimate struggle, but it's SO worth it.







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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

April 4, 2017

You don't have to go it alone



"How can I get my audience to ask more questions?"
"How do I create notes that are useful?"
"How do I make a more effective call to action?"
"How do I adjust my content into longer/shorter presentations?"
"How do I put together a speaker proposal for a conference?"
"How do I infuse more of my personality and personal style into my presentations?"
"How do I stop comparing myself to other speakers?"
"How do I keep from overwhelming my audience with information?"
"How do I judge my effectiveness with an audience?"
"How can I connect more emotionally with my audience and with the material I'm presenting?"

Have you ever asked yourself any of these questions? Or some that are similar? Wouldn't it be great if you could ask someone besides yourself?

Last year in the Speak to Engage Mentoring and Mastery program, these questions and many more were asked, and answered, by the participants on our monthly coaching and accountability calls, and during our visioning retreats where we created 6- and 12-month plans for speaking success.

When you're in business for yourself, or when you're a management-level professional, public speaking isn't a one-time thing you do at a board meeting, conference or networking event, and then it's over. It's a critical ongoing aspect of your job or your business, and a valuable tool for meeting people, putting your ideas out into the world, and becoming known as an authority. You do it again and again, you get good at it (hopefully), and you build a reputation.

When you're an entrepreneur or professional, cultivating your speaking skills and becoming visible as a speaker and expert is one of the absolute most effective ways to get customers and clients and become known as a thought leader.

But when you're the only person speaking for your business or your company, it can feel a bit lonely. It's hard to know what's going to work and what's not going to work. You don't have anyone to ask for advice about your ideas, your content or your delivery. And there's always something new that comes along—a high-stakes speaking engagement, a format you're not familiar with, a topic that's not your strong suit, an intimidating audience—that kicks you right out of your comfort zone.

This is what Speak to Engage Mentoring and Mastery is all about: Mastermind + coaching + mentoring + community + accountability = Success!

You have an intimate, confidential cohort: allies in achievement, partners in progress! Add in coaching sessions with me, visioning retreats to keep you on track, a StrengthsFinder® assessment to help you find your innate talents, and a whole slew of additional resources and bonuses (that are yours to keep forever) to keep your skills and confidence topped up, and you can't help but get the results you want from your speaking.

This program is customized to you, to your needs, to your concerns. We celebrate your wins and we tackle your struggles —together, in our small circle of likeminded presenters.

If it's important to you to grow your business or build visibility and credibility for your company; if it's important to you to face each speaking engagement with energy and excitement; if it's important to you to engage your audiences so they take action and move toward the transformation you offer, then I highly recommend making the investment and taking the time to develop your expertise, learn to do it right, and stand out above the other speakers who are just "getting by." You know who they are; they're the ones that put you to sleep at every event. That's not you.

Check out Speak to Engage Mentoring and Mastery here.

The program starts April 26. Early bird rate goes away April 19. There are four spots left. Are you in?

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

March 31, 2017

Two-time Academy Award winner needs an acting coach?



Billboard Daily Blog
Are you a fan of "Grace and Frankie," the hot Netflix series starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin? My husband and I arrived late to the party, but are now all caught up and attempting to savor season 3 instead of bingeing, like some of my friends have done.

If you don't know the show, it's about two women in their seventies whose lives are turned upside down when their husbands divorce them to marry each other. The premise is unusual, and the story is at times hilarious and at other times quite touching and emotional.

You might think that someone like Jane Fonda who, at 78, has been in the movie industry longer than many of us have been alive (not to mention her movie-star family members), would feel completely comfortable in her skin and with her abilities at this point in her career. Not so! After the first season, she hired an acting coach.

In an interview with Netflix, she said "I’ve never done episodic television before."

"I got an acting coach, that’s the extent to which I was insecure, and I sat down with her and we watched every episode together. And then we began working. And that was a revelation."

She felt that she was getting rusty. "I also didn’t think I was very good, and I’m a big believer that you can always do better. And just because you’re 78 years old, and you’ve won some awards, doesn’t mean that you’ve got a lock on it."

"An acting coach worked with me and helped me understand my character better."

I like to remind my audiences (and myself!) that just because you have a lot of experience speaking, or just because you love speaking and have no anxiety, that doesn't mean you're doing it as well as you could be.

Are you impacting your audience the way you want to? Are you leaving them feeling motivated and ready to take action? Are you getting all the results you want?

If Jane Fonda, two-time Academy Award winner (and three-time Golden Globe winner) uses a coach; if Usain Bolt, eight-time Olympic gold medalist, uses a coach; if Misty Copeland, American Ballet Theater's principal dancer, still goes to ballet class every morning before seven hours of rehearsal—why do we think, as average Joes in the speaking world, that we don't need to keep training, learning and growing?

I work with several coaches; I've been with my business coach for five years. At other times, I've hired a coach or joined a program for the short term if there was something specific I wanted to work on.

In the past several years, I've had coaches for the virtual parts of my business, for my retreats, for my YouTube presence (still working on that one!) and to express my core message better. I also attend my industry's conferences and mastermind sessions several times a year to stay fresh on my speaking and training skills.

What are you doing to keep your skills fresh, your content current, and your message up-to-date?

If the answer is "not much" or "nothing," please consider joining me for my upcoming program Speak to Engage Mentoring and Mastery.

Registration opens today!

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

March 4, 2017

Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection



It's coming, it's coming!

I'm expecting my book, Presenting For Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection, to be available on Amazon by the end of March, and hopefully to have some hard copies in hand to sign for my VIP supporters!

  • If you’re looking to make a significant impact on your audiences by offering a transformative growth experience… 
  • If you’re ready to share the complex unabridged version of yourself onstage… 
  • If you’re tired of trying to impress people and fit yourself into a cookie-cutter mold of “speaker” that doesn’t even exist, this book is the resource to help get you there.

When you look inside this book, you might be surprised to discover that it's not a public speaking “how-to” book. It’s certainly not an academic tome. There’s no step-by-step formula or system to follow, and you won’t learn what to do with your hands or how to write a keynote.

What you will learn is how striving for perfection gets in the way of making the connection you crave. You’ll learn how letting go of your need to impress your audiences frees you up to stop taking yourself so seriously and to have fun on stage.

You’ll learn how you can break the habit of hiding behind a rigid fa├žade of “professionalism” that creates an emotional barrier between you and the audience. And you’ll learn how being real, transparent and genuine is a gift of connection you give to your audience that brings them into your world and allows you to access theirs.

My philosophy is that public speaking is fun, it's an awesome way to express yourself creatively, and that connection and engagement are worth more than a thousand techniques.

And that’s why Presenting for Humans: Insights for Speakers on Ditching Perfection and Creating Connection focuses on upgrading your mindset around how you perceive and create your relationship with the audience.

Through short essays based on everyday encounters and experiences, and reflection questions at the end of each section, the book asks you to question what you already know about speaking.

Presenting for Humans encourages you to create a meaningful and memorable experience with every presentation. It prompts you to come from a place of service, of doing what’s best for your audience rather than what’s easiest for you. It suggests that you step back and take a break from techniques and rules, instead focusing on boldly revealing your true self on stage, being present, and creating connection.

If you'd like to be the first to know when I start taking pre-orders (for signed copies), you can join my book launch advance notice list here.

This book has been ten years in the making, and I can't believe it's almost here!

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

February 20, 2017

The 4 principles every successful speaker must master



Just a quick video for you today to share these four principles (and give you a sneak peak at my upcoming retreat)!



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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

February 17, 2017

5 Creative Ways to Spice up your Presentation: Guest Post by Alli Matson



Occasionally, a guest post comes across my desk that is too entertaining to pass up. Enjoy this contribution by Alli Matson of Presentation Wit.
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We've all been there: you've worked on your presentation for days now and all of the information is perfect, but it lacks that final touch to really make it memorable. Here are five creative ways to spice up your presentation.

Pyrotechnics 










You can literally never go wrong with fire; never once has something bad happened as a result of fire. Pretty sure about that. Enthrall the pyromaniacs and pyronormals (100% a real word) alike with some advanced pyrotechnic displays. They won't be able to look away.

Puppies










I feel like this one speaks for itself, but in case you've never met a puppy let me explain this to you. Puppers are tiny dogs that just want to lick your face (fun fact: puppies do that because they see you put food in your face hole and want to get at those crumbs) and love on you. I can't guarantee that anyone will pay attention to what you're saying, but they certainly will thank you.

Add some humor











Humor is a wonderful vehicle for the transferance of information, which is my fancy way of saying that people remember what makes them laugh. Think about it: I bet you'll never be able to forget my fact about puppers because I made it fun ;).

Have it catered 
















Again, this one seems pretty self explanatory. Food is good. People love food. Food makes people happy. Plus, as the wise Niles Crane stated, "it can't be a crime if it's catered" (i.e. even if you bomb, people will remember the food and not your wretched performance).

Present in song







I can't think of a single person who wouldn't love to recieve their HR policy orientation in song. Songs, along with rhyming, make all information more interesting and memorable (how many songs do you have memorized vs college lectures?).

About Alli Matson:

Alli grew up in Seattle, WA and attended the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor for undergrad. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Organizational Studies, and uses her knowledge of social psychology and behavior in organizations to inform the content and delivery of her office humor. Presently, she lives in Cambridge, MA and participates in sketch comedy, improv, and musical improv at Improv Boston. You'll find her humor writing at Presentation Wit.

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Are you an entrepreneur or professional who's looking for better results from your speaking? Are you hoping to build credibility and visibility for your business or cause? Tired of just "getting by" and ready to deliver truly engaging and powerful presentations? Click here to fill out my consultation questionnaire and we'll schedule a time to talk!

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